Pride month

21st June 2022

June is all about celebrating LGBTQ+ history and lifting up the voices of the community. All this month we will be sharing grant stories from groups that celebrate and spread awareness for the LGBTQ+ community.

Drop Zone Youth Projects, supports young people throughout the Furness area. A grant of £3,360 supported the BAFTA project (Barrow Action for Trans Awareness), set up by young people to raise awareness of gender inclusivity. Over the course of a year, young LGBTQ+ people created a guidance pack to help organisations become more inclusive, alongside an inclusivity charter, which highlights areas that employers can consider to help the workplace become more inclusive, and over 40 have signed up since 2021.

Sue Johnson, Youth and Community Development Manager, said: “It has been a great success with organisations stating that it has helped them to identify areas of improvement, with some delivering staff training to raise further awareness and hopefully improve the employment options for transgender young people moving forward.”

The charity now runs three LGBTQ+ groups for junior, senior and adults, plus monthly walks to improve mental health and wellbeing.

For more information please visit here.

OutREACH Cumbria is the county’s main service provider for LGBTQ+ support, advice and engagement in Cumbria.

£35,000 from the NHS Psychological Support Fund and Cumbria COVID-19 Response contributed to the Talk-It-Out counselling service to positively impact the disproportionate levels of distress experienced by LGBTQ+ people.

Debbie Wood, Trans & Talking Therapies Lead at Outreach Cumbria, said: “The grant has allowed us to expand the psychotherapeutic support we offer to LGBTQ+ people in north Cumbria. This is important given that LGBTQ+ people experience difficulties associated with being ‘different’ which have been shown to result in significantly more mental health problems than the general population, and which are not always well catered for in more generic statutory services.”

Although mental health professionals acknowledge that being an LGBTQ+  person does not mean a person is mentally ill, statistics show that LGBTQ+ people do suffer from higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal and self-harm behaviours than the general population.

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Last year, Cumbria Pride received £2,000 from the Abbeyfield Society Community First Fund. The volunteer-led event, which takes place annually, promotes equality, diversity and provides a safe, supportive environment where people can be themselves regardless of gender and sexuality.

The event at Carlisle Castle was attended by over 2,000 people and provided a platform for 35 organisations to also share their services including the NHS, Barnardo’s, Always Another Way, Pride in North Cumbria, Outreach Cumbria, Cadas, Carlisle Key, Multicultural Cumbria, Samaritans, University of Cumbria, West Cumbria Domestic Violence Support and Safety Net (UK).

Cumbria does not have social gathering spaces specific for the LGBTQ+ community, so meeting people is difficult and can be dangerous as there are still high levels of hate crime incidents relating to gender and sexuality, and a low level of prosecutions. By creating events it can address these issues and bring them to the forefront, so they continue to be recognised. It also highlights a need so other organisations can start to provide services specific to LGBTQ+ community.

This year, Cumbria Pride takes place on 24th September 2022:

Pride in North Cumbria (PiNC), based in Carlisle, provides social and support services to LGBT+ young people, aged between 13 and 25. It offers safe spaces while organising projects and community events that champion diversity, equality and community mindedness.

The charity recently received £27,000 to employ an additional youth worker who will provide support to those who require a little more assistance, such as those with anxiety and depression.

Youth Project Worker, Stevie Westgarth, said: “There are few opportunities for LGBTQ+ people to engage in targeted activities in Cumbria. Our young people are all from a group that is marginalised, stigmatised and vulnerable in our society. We also have intersectional identities which add to their barriers including race, ethnicity, neurodiversity, behavioural traits and homelessness.

“This funding will allow us to provide more targeted support and services and better understand the factors that influence the mental health of young LGBTQ+ people in our county. Having a member of staff dedicated to improving mental health will allow us to learn more about our service users while delivering targeted activities and also ensuring we are still able to offer a proficient service during our regular drop in sessions.”

For more information please visit: